29 April 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 168. (Donin 1972): To be a Jew by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Letter from Lhasa, number 168. (Donin 1972): To be a Jew

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Donin, H. H., To Be a Jew. A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life, Basic Books Inc. Publishers, New York City, N.Y., U.S.A., 1972.

(Donin 1972).

Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin

This book is an ample compilation of what indicated in its subtitle, Jewish observance.

There are also, marginally, other aspects.

For instance:

“However central an institution the synagogue has always been in Jewish life, it has never been synonymous with Judaism. While there are synagogues, one cannot speak of The Synagogue as the authoritative institution of the faith. Judaism is not embodied in any institution but in the Torah, Written and Oral. At one time, the Sanhedrin, a Supreme Religious Court, exercised a centralised authority. But for the past eighteen centuries, that authority was diffused among the rabbinical heads of their respective communities.”

(Donin 1972, p. 185)

In the reported paragraph, the author, a rabbi, seems to solve, by some confused soviet-style sophism, that rabbis have been taken over by a U.S. puppet pseudo-Zionist State (founded on the destruction, with British and U.S. at least complicity, of European Judaism, while [official] “Zionists” were at least collaborationists of the British and U.S. armies etc.), and that they act, at the same time, as para-State officers of the States were they operates. State/government controlled “religion” is an also contemporary reality, also in whatever contemporary “western” State, not only a past custom.

Judaism is monotheist. The God-State/government is a violation of monotheism, so of Judaism, or at least of its official claims. Anyway, this is finally irrelevant relatively to the purpose of the book, which is extremely useful for what concerns the forms of Judaic life.

“Knowledge requires understanding, and the greatest understanding derives from personal involvement and not merely from textbook learning.”

(Donin 1972, p. 315)

Donin, H. H., To Be a Jew. A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life, Basic Books Inc. Publishers, New York City, N.Y., U.S.A., 1972.

Letter from Lhasa, number 167. (Ginzberg 1976): An Unknown Jewish Sect

Letter from Lhasa, number 167. (Ginzberg 1976): An Unknown Jewish Sect

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Ginzberg, L., An Unknown Jewish Sect, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York City, N.Y., U.S.A., 5736-1976.

(Ginzberg 1976).

Louis Ginzberg

This is a complex work with intersection of different levels. It is the “literary” discovery, about one century ago, of a new sect or tendency, sect or tendency whose existence was later confirmed by other archaeological and literary discoveries.

More broadly, it reflects the plurality of points of view have been always existing in Judaism, which was not at all insulated from the external cultural environment, always nurtured from its surroundings and even determined from them. What is anyway normal for whatever social phenomenon.

Actually, the real sect might have been the fraction of Rabbinate who produced and imposed, the official “oral law”, the Babylonian Talmud. Judaism has always been, and largely remains, despite Rabbinate and Israel, an anarchic space, even, fortunately, without the centrality of sin characterising for example Christianity.

About the fragments:

“Yet we have never had any doubt that the document is composite in character. (...) It is most likely that these are fragments of diverse documents. On the basis of the historical background of the sect’s origin and development, as we described it above, we are in a position to classify the major part of these desjecta membra according to their provenance.” (Ginzberg 1976, p. 274).

The analysis of the fragments, referred from the author as “the sectarian document”, shows that the Torah was used for justifying pragmatic choices judged indispensable for the survival of the sect. Again, that is what always happens in social phenomena and for ideologies

Although very specialistic, or precisely because very specialistic, the book is of sure interest for whatever student and scholar of this field.

Ginzberg, L., An Unknown Jewish Sect, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York City, N.Y., U.S.A., 5736-1976.

Letter from Lhasa, number 166. (Samuel 2007): The Kabbalah Handbook by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi Samuel, G., The Kabbalah Handbook

Letter from Lhasa, number 166. (Samuel 2007): The Kabbalah Handbook

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Samuel, G., The Kabbalah Handbook. A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007.

(Samuel 2007).

Gabriella Samuel

This work is a wide review of Jewish concepts. Each one is written in /Hebrew, transliterated for Anglophone readers, translated and explained in English.

In the appendixes, one may find the 613 mitzvot, the historical timeline of Jewish mysticism, the sacred names of G-d, the lunar calendar of Judaism, the holy days of Judaism, and the literature of Kabbalah.

Samuel, G., The Kabbalah Handbook. A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007.

27 April 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 165. (Osman 2005): Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion

Letter from Lhasa, number 165. (Osman 2005): Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Osman, A., Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A., 2005.

(Osman 2005).

Ahmed Osman

Goal of this work is to affirm the Egyptian roots of Christianity. Actually, the same author does the same operation with Judaism. However, here, Christianity is not Egyptian because Judaic, or not only because Judaic, but since some direct derivation.

Crossroad among different religions and cultures was then Alexandria with its magnificent library, which was finally destroyed. The Alexandrian library was in the Serapeum, the temple of Serapis.

“As a result of these barbaric killing of Alexandrian scholars and destruction of its library, which contained texts in Greek of all aspects of ancient wisdom and knowledge, the true Egyptian roots of Christianity and of Western civilization have been obscured for nearly 16 centuries. The aim of this book is to rediscover these roots, with the help of new historical and archaeological evidence.”

(Osman 2005, p. xii)

“With the destruction of the Serapeum, not only Egyptian knowledge was lost; Mesopotamian, Syrian, Phoenician, Jewish and Greek learning also vanished. The whole scientific achievement of the old civilizations, regarded ad heresy by Bishop Theophilus, disappeared in a single day – books on astronomy, anatomy, medicine, geometry, geography, history, philosophy, theology and literature, as well as copies of the early Gnostic gospels of Christ. The result was the beginning of the dark ages, which lasted for more than ten centuries after that. All branches of science, as well as heretical writings that did not adhere to the teaching of the orthodox Church, were forbidden by the state.”

(Osman 2005, p. xvi)

According to the author, Egypt is absolutely central, more than central, for the foundation of monotheistic religions:

“I shall show how Egypt emerges as the birthplace of our spiritual leaders – from Imhotep, the first pyramid builder of the twenty-seventh century B.C., to Moses and Akhenaten, who first recognized one God, to the followers of Osiris (Egyptian god of the underworld and judge of the dead), Hermes Trismegistus and of Jesus Christ who looked for spiritual salvation and eternal life. Thanks to modern archaeologists, a new age now appears on the horizon, with Egypt restored to its original place.”

(Osman 2005, p. xvii)

According to the author, everything began there and will go back there.

As in his other works, the author uses historical-archaeological evidence for precisely positioning what, according current religious vulgate, is inevitably imprecise and confused, with tales inevitably mixed with real happenings.

Obviously, in such a work, the author returns on one of his themes, Joseph “father” [it is in the Bible/Torah!], alias ancestor [he should be his grandfather, according to the author’s reconstruction] of a Pharaoh.

About the Joseph daughter who gave birth to a Pharaoh:

“Her absence from the list may be simply explained by the fact that it was the practice for biblical scribes to omit women’s names unless they had played a significant role in the story being told, a practice that often suggests the Hebrews fathered only male descendants. A more plausible explanation, once the identification of Joseph as Yuya is accepted, argues that Joseph’s daughter in her turn is to be identified as Yuya’s daughter Tiye (Plate 10) who, despite being half-Israelite, became Queen of Egypt, and that, to mask the Israelite-Egyptian connection, when the Book of Genesis was set down in writing many centuries after the events it describes, her name was excised from the Old Testament as a result of bitter memories of the Exodus – bitterness that still survives in politics today,”

(Osman 2005, p. 47)

If the reconstruction of the author is correct, if you want to claim that you are a pre-existent ethnic group, you claim your direct creation from God [one God, what may mean either everything or nothing and nobody]. In addition, you have to justify in various ways your split from other ethnic groups. If the mixing was too deep, as it evidently was in the Egyptian case, you have to minimise this intertwining with the tale of the slavery, of your escape and censoring evidence of too deep intertwining. However, even in the Torah there are reports of deep intertwining. Other researches show as all Judaic customs and traditions come from the Egyptian culture, despite the author of this work currently argue that the Jews’ permanence in Egypt was decidedly shorter than currently claimed.

Was Judaism the original religion of late Pharaohs’ Egypt, Judaic religion which survived in its original characters only in the Judaic tribe moved out from Egypt? Moshe [re-]received from God that original Egyptian religion, which actually comes from Egyptian customs and tradition. Do not forget that the Abraham of the Biblical tale, with that “his” Isaac son of a Pharaoh, adopted the Egyptian custom of the circumcision after he sojourned in Egypt. Abraham ...became a Jew in Egypt!

Even the whole biblical story or tale of the Jews’ slavery seems more a dynastic conflict:

1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falls out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. 15 And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When all of you do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then all of you shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have all of you done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered before the midwives come in unto them. 20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. 22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born all of you shall cast into the river, and every daughter all of you shall keep alive.

[Exodus, Chapter 1]

...“8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Joseph was grandfather of a Pharaoh...

...Again Moshe is of the family of a Pharaoh. He is, at least, the son of the daughter of a Pharaoh. ...It is written, in some way, in the Bible/Torah...

Osman identifies the biblical Solomon in Amenhotep III. David as Tuthmosis III. We are in the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries B.C.. Empire in decline during the Solomon’s rule.

“Now we can see why, despite diligent efforts by biblical scholars, historian and archaeologists, no single piece of evidence has been found in Palestine to support what has become known as the period in the tenth century B.C. of the United Monarchy of David and Solomon. The absence of such evidence does not mean that they are not historical characters, but that scholars have been confused by the nature of the biblical account and have been seeking their evidence in the wrong century.

“[...] It was into this peaceful, opulent world that Moses was born – to face the instant threat, we are told, of being murdered on his father’s orders.”

(Osman 2005, p. 64)

“The first chapter of the Book of Exodus introduces an immediate note of confusion. It suggest that the birth of Moses coincides with a number of events that we know from Egyptian historical sources did not occur until more than half a century later, and it makes a number of statements that are obviously contradictory. [...]”

(Osman 2005, p. 65)

“To establish the historical identity of Moses we have to seek a personality of whom at least the majority of the above statements are true. There is only such personality of whom they are actually all true – the Pharaoh Akhenaten (Plate 12).”

(Osman 2005, p. 69)

“From what we know of his later life, it is a reasonable deduction that Akhenaten (Moses) was born in the later part of 1395 B.C., nine months after his parents went sailing on the pleasure lake at Zarw during a kind of second honeymoon.”

(Osman 2005, p. 71)

There is also a detailed explanation on why Moses, son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye (of Egyptian-Israelite blood), was opposed from the powerful priesthood.

“By the time Akhenatend (Moses) arrived in Thebes, Queen Tiye, who is known to have been a woman with powerful personality, had become an increasingly influential presence behind the throne as her husband’s health declined with his advancing years. This increased influence is reflected in the fact that her name, unlike that of earlier queens, was placed regularly in a cartouche, a distinction previously limited to the ruling monarch, and was also included in royal titularies. Furthermore, she was represented ad being of equivalent stature to the king.

To ensure her son’s ultimate inheritance of the throne, she seems to have arranged for him to marry his half-sister, Nefertiti, the heiress. It was Tiye, too, who must have persuaded her husband to appoint Moses as his co-regent, with special emphasis on Nefertiti’s role to placate the hostile priests and nobles.”

(Osman 2005, p. 76)

Yuya/Joseph was their Chief Minister.

“Akhenaten’s rejection of the beliefs and authority of the Theban priesthood, who had denied his right to the throne from the time of his birth, began shortly after he appeared in Thebes.”

(Osman 2005, p. 79)

And Egypt became monotheist. Only God became one of the previous gods, Aten. ...Aten/Adonai...

“We also find reflections of Egyptian practices in Israelite practices. Moses is said to have introduced the Ark, [...]. The Ark, regarded as the holiest part of Israelite temples after the Pentateuch itself, is a version of the Egyptian holy boat, usually kept in the temple and, we have seen, serving to carry the deity during processions.

“To the resentful Egyptian Establishment, Aten was seen as a challenger who would replace the powerful state god Amun-Ra and deny his denomination. It was at this point, in a climate that was becoming increasingly hostile toward her son, that Queen Tiye arranged a compromise by persuading Akhenaten (Moses) to leave Thebes and establish his new capital at Tell-el-Amarna on the east bank of the Nile, on land that had never been dedicated to any other deity. He named this new city, where he and his followers could be free to worship their monotheistic God, Akhetaten, the Horizon of Aten.”

(Osman 2005, p. 81)

“By the early years of this century, when the city of Amarna had been excavated and more was known about Akhenaten and his family, Egyptologists of the period saw him a visionary humanitarian as well as the first monotheist. He was looked upon as a poet who wrote hymns to Aten, the longest of which has a striking resemblance to Psalms 104 of the Bible. He had instructed his artists to express freely what they felt and saw, resulting in a new and simple realistic art that was different in many respects from the traditional form of Egyptian artistic expression.”

(Osman 2005, p. 84)

Archaeologists perceived the neat difference between Akhenaten and his predecessors, also in foreign relations.

However, his power was not steady. The author concludes that: “Akhenaten (Moses) was forced to abdicate when threatened by a military coup [...].”

(Osman 2005, p. 93)

“This is the first time in Egyptian history that we find the king’s cabinet composed almost totally of army generals, who could have gained their position of power, and later on the throne, only as the result of a military coup. It is clear that in his Year 17 Akhenaten faced an army rebellion led by Horemheb, Pa-Ramses and Seti. General Aye (as he then was), supported by General Nakht Min but unable to crush the rebellion, made a deal with them to allow the abdication of Akhenaten (Moses) and the appointment of his young son, Tutankhamun, as the new ruler over Egypt. Akhenaten (Moses), no doubt reluctantly, accepted the situation. The place he chose for refuge was the wilderness of Sinai, which he would choose again when he led the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt – but this was a challenge he did not face until a quarter of a century later.

“In the meantime, Aye had succeeded Tutankhamun after his great-nephew’s early death, only to disappear mysteriously, along with General Nakht Min, after a reign of only four years. Horemheb then seized power and appointed the other two leaders of the earlier threatened rebellion, Pa-Ramses and Seti, as viziers and commanding generals of the army, thus creating the situation that enabled them in their turn to come to the throne eventually as the first two Pharaohs of a new Nineteenth Dynasty.”

(Osman 2005, p. 94)

“Although there is as yet no complete proof, it is easy to see that, in the prevailing circumstances, Serabit offered the best, if not the only possible location for Akhenaten’s exile – a holy place, closed to another holy lace, Mount Sinai, away from government control, where he could meditate and develop his religious ideas until, when Horemheb’s death brought the Eighteenth Dynasty to an end, he came back to try to reclaim his throne.

“On the high peak of Serabit, 2,600 feet above sea level, a shrine had been constructed originally in a cave, although by the time of the New Kingdom it had been extended outside and reached a total length of 230 feet.

(Osman 2005, p. 102)

“Petrie also found evidence indicating that the rituals performed in the temple at Serabit were Semitic in their nature.”

(Osman 2005, p. 118)

“The Ten Commandments, said to have been given by the Lord God of Moses to the Israelites in Sinai, clearly derive from an Egyptian tradition and would seem to have roots in common with the Egyptian Book of the Dead.”

(Osman 2005, p. 103-104)

“My conclusion, on the weight of the foreign evidence, and more that will follow, is that (Moses) Akhenaten fled at the time of his abdication to Sinai, which was not merely a safe refuge, but a holy place. Furthermore, as a quarrying region it provided the materials he needed for the tabernacle (large tent) that, according to the Old Testament, he built at the foot of Mount Sinai, the holy mountain, where St. Catherine’s monastery stands today (Plate 27).

“When (Moses) Akhenaten sought refuge in Sinai he seems from later evidence to have taken with him one of the scepters of the king’s power – a rod in the shape of a serpent, either made of, or covered with, brass.”

(Osman 2005, p. 105)

Another key point of this work is Jesus:

“The statement that the historical Jesus was killed by a priest named Panehesy in the fourteenth century B.C. will be greeted with varying emotions by the millions of Christians throughout the world who accept the orthodox belief that he lived, suffered and died in the first century A.D. As we shall see in the next chapter, the early Church Fathers believed that Jesus appeared twice in two different periods of time. [...] However, while it is certain that his disciples have claimed that he appeared to them at this time, not a shred of evidence exists to support the orthodox view that this was the historical Jesus, while, disturbing as the thought may be, substantial evidence – from the Bible itself and the teachings of the early Church Fathers as well as Egyptian history – points to his having lived, suffered and died many centuries earlier.”

(Osman 2005, p. 108)

“No contemporary record, Roman or Jewish, testifies to the presence of Jesus in Palestine at the beginning of the first century A.D. Nevertheless, we do have testimonies from this period reporting the appearance of Christ, in his spiritual form, to his disciples, such as St. Paul.

“This raises the question, examined in the third section of this book, of the circumstances under which seemingly false accounts of the life of Jesus came to be written and the motives that inspired them.”

(Osman 2005, p. 118)

About the so-called Dead Sea Scrolls:

“Far from confirming accepted ideas about the origins of orthodox Christianity, however, the texts contradict them. They provide positive witness to a Savior and a Christian Church that predates the accepted start of the Christian era by at least two centuries.”

(Osman 2005, p. 119-120)

“According to the Gospels, nobody saw Jesus, they only saw Christ, which means his spiritual not physical element. In contrast, we have examined a great deal of evidence that he lived many centuries earlier. Who was he?”

(Osman 2005, p. 132)

For Osman, Jesus was Tutankhaten/Tutankhamun.

“Yet, despite his efforts to heal the religious wounds inflicted upon Egypt by his father’s introduction of the monotheistic God, Aten, Tutankhamun was murdered.”

(Osman 2005, p. 137)

Between pages 142 and 143, one may find different pictures. There are, for instance, Tuthmosis III/David “who established the first empire that extended from the Nile to Euphrates”, Amenhotep III/Solomon, the head of Queen Tiye daughter of Yuya/Joseph and mother of Akhenaten/Moses, Akhenaten/Moses with Nefertiti/Miriam and their three eldest daughters, Tutankhamun/Jesus, the Egyptian Trinity, Tutankhamun/Jesus anointed by his wife Ankhsenpa-amun (Mary Magdalene?), Panehesy/Elias, Iris with her son Horus (“whose father is god Osiris”) [Mary with Jesus son of God?], “The monastery of St. Catherine, at the foot of Mount Sinai, where the historical Jesus was hanged on a tree by Panehesy.” ...”[...] holy ground even before the time of Moses. [...], etc.

“We find many echoes of those distant days in Christian beliefs, traditions and ritual:


(Osman 2005, p. 148)

“The account of the Resurrection of Jesus is in many ways similar to that of Osiris. Like Osiris, he is said to have been killed on a Friday and risen on the third day. The Osiris worshippers of ancient Egypt believed, as did the early Christians, that man cannot be saved by a remote omnipotent deity, but by one who has shared the experience of human suffering and death, Osiris became the savior to whom men and women turned for assurance of immortality.

“Akhenaten (Moses) abolished the worship of Osiris as well as other ancient Egyptian gods and spoke of an afterlife. However, followers of Christ, the Essenes among them, believed – unlike the rest of the Jews – in life after death. This revived belief in the eternal existence of the spirit and judgement after death can be traced to the historical Jesus himself. Tutankhamun accepted the Osiris belief in an afterlife and made Aten the God of both life and death. This is reflected in his tomb where, in complete contrast to the teachings of Moses, he is shown resurrected and alive, facing Aye.”

(Osman 2005, p. 149)

Tutankhamun “was accused of being a deceiver who tried to turn the Israelites to worshipping other gods and was hanged on a tree (according to ancient Israelite law) by Panehesy, the high priest of Akhenaten.”

(Osman 2005, p. 154)

... Tutankhamun/Jesus...

“Tutankhamun was succeeded in 1352 B.C. by Aye (Ephraim), his great-uncle, protector and, ultimately, the avenger of his death. It was only four years before Aye, too, disappeared mysteriously from the scene, to be replaced by Horemheb (c. 1348-1335 B.C.), an army general, who secured his right to the throne by marrying Mutnezmet, the sister of Nefertiti.

“We find Horemheb mentioned in the Old Testament as “a new king over Egypt which knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8), a description that cannot be applied to any of the four Amarna rulers, Akhenaten, Semerkhkare, Tutankhamun and Aye, all descendant of Joseph the Patriarch (Yuya), who brought the tribes of Israel down from Canaan to live in Egypt.

“Horemheb inherited the religious revolution by Akhenaten, to which he was totally opposed. Worship of the Aten was abolished, and the names of the Amarna king were excised from king-lists and monuments in a studies campaign to try to remove all traces of their rule from Egyptian memory.”

(Osman 2005, p. 155)

“Horemheb also made it a crime, punishable by death, even to mention the name of Akhenaten (Moses). I believe that the origin of the name Moses lies in this ban.”

(Osman 2005, p. 156)

“By the time Horemheb came to the throne, many Egyptians had adopted the Atenist faith and, as a result, were looked upon, in the words of Manetho, the native Egyptian historian of the third century B.C., as “polluted persons.” Horemheb persecuted them. He turned the area around the fortified frontier city of Zarw, where Akhenaten (Moses) had been born, into a prison. There he gathered the mass of Akhenaten’s followers, both Israelite and Egyptian, plus a variety of criminals, who lived in villages outside the city walls. Horemheb appointed Pa-Ramses (later Ramses I, the first ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty) as his chief minister, Commander of the Troops, Overseer of Foreign Countries, Overseer of the Fortress Zarw and Master of the Horse. Pa-Ramses was therefore the most powerful man in Egypt after Horemheb, and it was he, on Horemheb’s orders, who inflicted harsh labor on the Israelites and other prisoners by forcing them to rebuild Zarw as well as a new residence for himself, known later as Pi-Ramses, which, according to the Old Testament, was the starting point of the Exodus.”

(Osman 2005, p. 156-157)

Osman opposes the Koranic account to the Biblical one. Moses would have not used magic, but his dynastic rights. There would have been an authority’s conflict not sorcery’s shows.

“So Akhenaten (Moses) was not using magic but seeking to establish his royal authority, and the biblical story relates a political challenge for power in a mythological way.”

(Osman 2005, p. 162)

“Once they saw the sceptre of royal authority and Akhenaten had performed the sed-festivals rituals, the wise men “fell down prostrate in adoration,” as the Koran puts it, confirming that his was the superior right to the throne. However, Pa-Ramses, who controlled the army, used his power to frustrate the verdict of the priests and elders and retained the right to rule by a kind of coup d’etat. Akhenaten (Moses) was left with no choice but to flee from Egypt with his followers – the Israelites and those Egyptians who had embraced the Atenist faith. So began the Exodus, the first stage of what would prove a long journey to the Promised Land of Canaan.

“Akhenaten (Moses) and his flowers made their way to Sinai via the marshy area to the south of Zarw and north of Lake Temsah and present-day Ismaelia. Tis watery route was chosen to hinder pursuit: Egyptian chariots would become struck in the mud whereas the Israelites, traveling on foot, would be able to cross safely. [...]”

(Osman 2005, p. 163)

“The slaying of Jesus at the foot of Mount Sinai on a spring evening in 1352 B.C. was later the subject of an elaborate conspiracy to try to conceal the truth about his death. Not the least element of this conspiracy was the “resurrection” of Jesus in order to furnish graphic details of how he conquered the Promised Land in a swift military campaign a century after his death.”

(Osman 2005, p. 165)

“After their entry into the Promised Land the Israelites spent the better part of three centuries in small groups, dotted around Canaan without any central authority or central place of worship.”

(Osman 2005, p. 170)

“In exile, the priests adopted the Babylonian lunar calendar in place of the solar calendar used previously. As a result, Tishri (September-October), originally the seventh month of the Israelites’ year, became the first month of a new calendar and Abib (Babylonian Nisan) became the seventh month. About half a century after the return to Jerusalem the priests took advantage of the ensuing confusion to separate the Passover from the Day of Atonement. The Passover continued to be observed in Abib (Nisan), the old first month, while the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur, the most solemn day in the Jewish year – was transferred to the tenth day of Tishri (September-October), the new first month, and its significance was changed from atonement for the killing of their Messiah by the Wicked Priest to repentance for sin in general. [...]

“All the indications are that Phinehas (Pinhas/Panehesy), presented as the hero of the assassination and subsequent massacre in Sinai, was actually responsible for those events – he is the one identified by the Qumran Essenes as the Wicked Priest – and paid for it with his life. Yet the Deuteronomic redactor chose to “resurrect” him as well as Joshua. He is named as one of Joshua’s followers in the account of the latter’s conquest of the Promised Land a century later.”

(Osman 2005, p. 172)

“Nearly all Christians nowadays – Roman Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox – share three basic premises. They accept the canon of the New Testament, the apostolic Creed and a Church with an institutional, hierarchical structure. It was only toward the end of the second century A.D. that these three aspects of Christian belief and observance emerged in this form.”

(Osman 2005, p. 178)

“The historical truth about Joshua, the Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest (i.e., Phinehas), and the Suffering Servant was preserved throughout this long period principally by two groups of sects – the Essenes (Judeo-Christians) and the Gnostics (Gentile-Christians), seekers after self-knowledge, which they regarded as knowledge of God – the God within. The Gnostics were to be condemned as heretics by the bishops of the early Church because they would accept neither the canon of the New Testament, nor the apostolic Creed, nor the authority of the Church.

“Until the discovery of their library, the Dead Sea Scrolls, in caves in Qumran in 1947, the Essenes were known only from Greek sources (that is, sources written in Greek).

[...] The Essenes separated themselves from the Jewish community at large and from the Jerusalem priesthood, whom they looked upon as “ungodly men” whose teaching was false. The sect faced the threat of persecution – through being ostracized socially or, like their Teacher, killed – if their beliefs were known, and they imposed a vow of secrecy upon all those who joined them.”

(Osman 2005, p. 178-179)

With many similarities and some difference, there were the Gnostic Therapeutae.

“Discovery of the Essenes’ library, the Dead Sea Scrolls, in 1947, and the subsequent controversy about its contents and their significance, have served to distract attention from the Gnostic library found at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt two years earlier. This library, hidden at some time in the latter half of the fourth century A.D., consisted of 13 papyrus books containing 52 texts, among them previously unknown gospels (..).”

(Osman 2005, p. 183-184)

“The question at issue is simple. If the historical Jesus (Joshua), lived, suffered and died in the fourteenth B.C., what motives lay behind the “orthodox” Christian Church’s identification of the spiritual appearances of Christ to some of his disciples and to St. Paul – reported to have taken place during the first century A.D. – as representing the historical Jesus? Those motives were nothing less than the Church of Rome’s need to place the incarnate Jesus – the Jesus of flesh and blood – in A.D. 1, and to ratify these spiritual appearances as manifestations of the historical Jesus, in order to legitimize its authority and power.”

(Osman 2005, p. 189-190)

Also real and initial symbolisms are different from current vulgate.

“The positive significance of the Egyptian ankh is reflected in the fact that Paul’s theology of the Cross did not focus on the suffering and death of Jesus, but on his resurrection and the promise of eternal life.”

(Osman 2005, p. 203)

The discussion on early Christianity is wide and detailed, It deals with different aspects at different levels. Overall, Osman differentiate ideology from history.

“One of the important influences in shaping modern Christianity was the fusion of two theologies, Israelite and Egyptian.”

(Osman 2005, p. 219)

As usual in everything, the harsh conflicts inside Christian sects were solved from political powers which adopted one against the other ones. This is what happened in Rome, at those times:

“The chance for the bishops of Rome came when Emperor Constantine adopted the Christian faith in the fourth century, and gave them political and legal authority, which they used to enforce their position. The ultimate defeat of Alexandria then followed at the time of Emperor Theodosius I, when Theophilus, his bishop in Alexandria, destroyed the Serapeum, and the religious center of the empire henceforward moved to the Vatican in Rome. It was then that the Alexandria library was destroyed, all writings that did not agree with the account of the Roman Church were regarded as heretic and burned, and all religious teachers who disagreed with the orthodox doctrines were punished. For ten centuries after this event, only the Bible and the teaching of the Church of Rome were allowed as sources of knowledge and education, in what came to be regarded as the Middle Ages.

“That is how the Egyptian origins of Christianity have been hidden for approximately 16 centuries. Thanks only to the archaeologists of modern Europe, copies of the lost knowledge such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library have been discovered again. Now the real history behind the Bible can be revealed.”

(Osman 2005, p. 240-241)

In Pharaohs Egypt:

“From the last days of the Eighteenth Dynasty, a slow evolutionary process tool place within the Osiris theology, to explain the significance of the life, death , and resurrection of Tutankhamun, who became identified as the risen Osiris. An visitor to the tomb of the young king, in the Valley of the Kings, can see for himself the strongest pictorial evidence connecting Tutankhamun and Jesus Christ.”

(Osman 2005, p. 243)

“Undoubtedly, this is the scene that was at the root of the heated theological arguments that lasted for the whole first four centuries of the early Christian Church regarding the nature of Christ and the meaning of his trinity. For here we see Osiris the father, Horus the son and Ka the Holy Spirit, all being represented as one person – Tutankhamun – as three different aspects of the same person.

“Thus on the north wall of Tutankamun’s burial chamber we find the three important theological points related to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While the first scene represents his physical resurrection, the second scene represents his ascension and the third scene the trinity of his nature. This must have been the reason why King Aye officiated as a priest over the arrangements of the king’s burial, for no other priest would have been able to understand the new theology that stood behind the reformation introduced by Tutankhamun to the Amarna religious revolution. So the emergence of Christianity in the first century A.D., when the apostles declared their witnessing of the risen Christ, was not an abrupt event, but came as a result of a long process of evolution, out of the ancient cults of Osiris and Hermes Trismegistus.”

(Osman 2005, p. 243-244)

Osman, A., Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A., 2005.

05 April 2010

Letter from Lhasa, number 164. (Osman 2003): The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt

Letter from Lhasa, number 164. (Osman 2003): The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Osman, A., The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt. The Secret Lineage of the Patriarch Joseph, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A., 2003.

Ahmed Osman

(Osman 2003)

If the Torah was written after the Egyptian phase, it was because a new population now without land and landlords needed an identity or a new identity or a reformulation of its identity. Metaphors, imprecision and historical reports inevitably mixed. The Torah was inevitably imbued with Egyptian customs and practices. Jews had been slaves, alias proletarians, but also part of the ruling class and pharaohs, or parents and relatives of pharaohs. Now they had gone away, perhaps during a time of crisis and catastrophes. While the Jewish people recreated the Egyptian gods, Moshe or “Moshe” needed to invent a God considerably better than the Egyptian gods and the divine image of the Egyptian pharaohs. Or, perhaps, Jews had already one god needed to be reaffirmed. Actually, we’ll see that also the Egyptians turned toward monotheism. Left the comforts of the Egyptian life, the new now nomadic tribe needed some strong justification for the uncertain life it was facing. Or, perhaps, the breaking with Egypt was dramatized. Religions link to God although, first, they link people together.

“I believe that Joseph was by inheritance a prince of Egypt as well as the last Hebrew patriarch and was sold into slavery more than two centuries later than is generally accepted. The Pharaoh who appointed him as a vizier was Tuthmosis IV (c. 1413-1405 B.C.) the eighth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who was very young – in his mid-twenties – when he died. He was succeeded by his son, Amenhotep III.

“(...) There are indications that, in addition to the two sons we know of from the Bible, Joseph had a daughter. I believe that, against the advice of his priests, Amenhotep III married this daughter and made her, rather than Sitamun, his Great Royal Wife (queen).”

(Osman 2003, p. 2)

“I do not accept that the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt lasted 430 years: it could not have been for more than a century, and I place the time of the Oppression and Exodus much earlier than is generally accepted – the Oppression during the reign of Horemheb (c. 1335-1308 B.C.), the last ruler of the Eighteen Dynasty and the Exodus during the short reign of Ramses I (c. 1308-1307 B.C.), first ruler of the Nineteenth. Finally, I do not believe that, at the time of the Exodus, Moses brought the bones of Joseph out of Egypt to bury them again in Palestine. In my opinion the remains of the Hebrew patriarch have never left Egypt and they are to be found today on the first floor of Cairo Museum in the shape of a mummy, largely forgotten and ignored, named Yuya.”

(Osman 2003, p. 2-3)

One night, the author bumped again, but now he read what there really was, in Genesis 45:8:

“It occurs when, at a time of famine, Joseph’s half-brother make the second of two visits to Egypt to buy corn. On the first occasion, Joseph had concealed his true identity from the kinsmen who sold him into slavery: this time he revels himself to them, but says reassuringly: “So then it was not you who sent me hither, but God: he hath made me a father to Pharaoh...” A father to Pharaoh! I found it difficult to believe that I had read those words so often in the past without attaching any real importance to them.”

(Osman 2003, p. 4)

...Yuya’ tomb.

“Proving that Joseph and Yuya were the same person would clearly be a formidable task that meant challenging conventional scholarship, the accepted notion that the tribe of Israel spent 430 years in Egypt, and the Bible’s insistence that Moses brought the bones of Joseph with him for reburial when he led the Exodus out of Egypt. Yet I felt my intuition in the small hours of a cold winter’s night would prove to be true – and might perhaps explain the almost mystical quality of the enmity that scars relations between Egypt and Israel.”

(Osman 2003, p. 6)

“The tomb of Yuya and his wife, Tuya, was found in 1905, (...).”

(Osman 2003, p. 8)

“Unlike his wife, Tuya, who had conventional Egyptian looks, Yuya was remarkably foreign in appearance, as Arthur Weigall recorded in his book The Life and Times of Akhenaten, published in 1910: “Ha was a person of commanding presence, whose powerful character showed itself in his face. One must picture him now as a tall man, with a fine shock of white hair; a great hooked nose like that of a Syrian; full, strong lips; and a prominent, determined jaw. He has the face of an ecclesiastic, and there is something about his mouth which reminds one of the late Pope, Leo XIII. One feels on looking at his well-preserved features, that there may be found the originator of the great religious movement which his daughter and grandson carried into execution.”

“This was a reference to Tiye, the daughter of Yuya and Tuya, whom Amenhotep III made his Great Royal Wife, and their son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), who was close to the temples, destroy the gods of Egypt and establish in their place a monotheistic God, like the God of Israel (see Chapter 8).”

(Osman 2003, p. 15)

Biblical sources are an open, not at all univocal, field.

“More recently, Professor Donald B. Redford of Toronto University, in his book A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph, has concluded that all the historical indications relating to Joseph and the Descent, including every reference to Egypt and Egyptian names, locations and titles, are pure inventions of the biblical editor, who wanted to justify the Exodus by bringing Joseph and the Israelites into Egypt. His conclusions mean that Joseph as we know him never existed.”

(Osman 2003, p. 17)

“(...) Further evidence that the Old Testament, even in its final, complete version, existed in more than one form, was provided by discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls – fragments, and sometimes complete scrolls, from the books of the Old Testament, dating back to the second century B.C. – in Qumran in 1947. Scholars were surprised to discover that, although most of the Dead Sea Scrolls agreed with the Hebrew text tradition, some of the material they contained reinforced the Greek text – the Septuagint, which is older than the Hebrew Massoretic text – as well, while others differed from both, indicating that at the time, the second and first century B.C., there were more than two versions of the Old Testament text in circulation among the Jews of Palestine.”

(Osman 2003, p. 18)

An exodus, alias a great escape or great migration, needs to be justified in some way. If one wants to establish, in some way, a new nation, one needs to provide some tale or story or ex-post “history” founding it in the people’s imaginary. One needs to create a tradition. Such are sacred books. “God told. We have written that. It is not important whether that be fully or really historically founded. We believe in it because we believe in it.” Faith come and must come before reason, in this field. Nations are, first of all, founded in minds and in practised routines.

The behaviour of the biblical Abraham [Abram] was a bit odd, according our days’ standards, when he temporarily migrated to Egypt. In practice, he sold his wife Sarah [Sarai] and he got her back, and he was expelled from Egypt, when the Pharaoh did not want her anymore. Back from Egypt to Canaan, he brought with him wealth, power and circumcision (an Egyptian custom). Had he become and Egyptian official? Had he sold not only his wife but also his tribe? Perhaps he did not sell tribe and wife but only hired them. However that circumcision’s custom is a power link with Egypt, an act of eternal submission. After the Egyptian sojourn, Sarah became princess. In fact this is the meaning of Sarah. According to the Bible, she would have generated kings, typical not of nomadic tribes but of settled populations. That was another innovation followed their Egyptian sojourn. Was their son Isaac, actually son of the Pharaoh? Until then, Abraham was not sterile [he had had and he will have children from other women] but he seemed such with Sarah. According Talmud there was no resemblance between Abraham and Isaac. In fact, a derided Abraham wanted to kill Isaac. Sarah died, when, or a bit later, she listen the news. Something saved Isaac. Egypt? Or simply, Abraham overcoming people’s derision. The Gospel of Saint John, through the Jesus confrontation with rabbis, remembers this dualism between God (the Abraham’s final behaviour) and Devil (the popular common sense). It remembers also the Rabbis consciousness that part of them were descendants not of Abraham but of the Pharaoh.

There is information about Joseph both in the Torah and in the Koran although with some difference.

“From the point of view of Egyptian history, the biblical Joseph is a misty figure. No record of the name Joseph or that of any other member of his family has been found, and there is, to date, only the record discovery of the name Israel. In contrast, we know a good deal, from his tomb and other sources, about Yuya – when he was alive, his family, the post he held.

“I believe that Tuthmosis IV (c. 1413-1405 B.C.) was the Pharaoh who appointed Yuya to the post of vizier. Tuthmosis IV seems to have been an Egyptian counterpart of Jacob and Joseph, a dreamer (see Chapter 9).”

(Osman 2003, p. 49)

“Yuya, who had married an Egyptian woman named Tuya, possibly of Royal blood (...), continued to serve as vizier when Tuthmosis IV died and was succeeded by his son, Amenhotep III (c. 1405-1367 B.C.), Amenhotep III, who was only twelve years of age at the time, broke with Egyptian tradition by marrying first his sister, Sitamun, and then Yuya’s daughter, Tiye – herself thought to have been only about eight – and making her rather than Sitamun his Great Royal Wife (queen).”

(Osman 2003, p. 50)

“Further evidence that Yuya lived during this period, and died during his son-in-law’s reign, is provided by the objects found in his tomb with Amenhotep III’s name on them – the jewel box, the chest and the alabaster vase – and the absence of any gifts from the ruler who succeeded him, Akhenaten.”

(Osman 2003, p. 52)

After various other historical deductions, the author concludes this chapter 6 on Joseph/Yuya as A Father to Pharaoh:

“If this is the correct interpretation, and we assume for the sake of argument that:

“1. Yuya was sixty when he died during the reign of his son-in-law, Amenhotep III.

“2. He could not have died before the Princess Sitamun was at least fifteen years of age, because of the evidence of the three chairs.

“3. Akhenaten served for a time as co-regent with his father and Year 26 of Amenhotep II is the earliest date this co-regency could have begun.

“It follows that:

“4. Yuya died at some time between 1393/2 and 1379/8 B.C.

“5. He was born at some time between 1453/2 and 1439/38 B.C.”

(Osman 2003, p. 55-56)

After a meticulous historical discussion, the author reaffirms:

“The other indications that Joseph lived in Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty, rather than more than two centuries earlier during the Hyksos period, are inevitably fragmentary, but so compelling that it seems remarkable that nobody has gathered them all together before and drawn from them the obvious conclusion. To place them in the same chronology as the story of Joseph in the Pentateuch and the Koran.”

(Osman 2003, p. 72)

“The journey that Joseph’s brothers made down to Egypt to buy corn at the time of famine provide further evidence that these journeys took place during the period of the Eighteenth Dynasty rather than more than two century earlier.”

(Osman 2003, p. 82)

“If the brothers had appeared at the time when the rulers were the Hyksos, the majority of whose followers were also Canaanites, they could hardly have been accused of spying.”

(Osman 2003, p. 83)

“After the brothers have denied the charge, Joseph demands that his younger brother, Benjamin, be brought down to Egypt, and twice swears an oath (...):


“This form of oath did not exist in Egypt before the Eighteenth Dynasty and the New Kingdom.”

(Osman 2003, p. 83)

...When Joseph used an interpreter...

“Canaanite was the language of the Hyksos rulers and, had they been dealing with a Hyksos vizier, the brothers would not have expected him to need the service of an interpreter. Nor would they have conducted in his presence what was clearly meant to be a private conversation if they had had any suspicion that he might understand what they were saying.”

(Osman 2003, p. 83-84)

“The role that money played in grain purchase in the biblical story of Joseph therefore again conforms with the situation that existed in Egypt during the New Kingdom.”

(Osman 2003, p. 84)

For temporally positioning the biblical account, the author uses other evidence, or what for him his decisive historical evidence.

Again, the author discusses the confused and contradictory account of the Torah at the light of historical-archaeological evidence:

“There is no suggestion anywhere that the Israelites ever moved from the place where they first settled, Goshen in the eastern delta.

“The whole story of their banishment to a remote region where they would not give offence to the Egyptians consequently makes sense only if they arrived in the country when the seat of power was in Thebes, the better part of four hundred miles away. As for their proximity to the Royal residence at the time when Moses was born, this is simply explained: it was the king, not the Israelites, who moved. The later rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty made their capital in the delta instead of Thebes. Tutankhamun, for instance, spent most of his life at Memphis – and finally, as we saw above, the first three kings of the first three kings of the Nineteenth Dynasty, Ramses I, Seti I and Ramses II, made Zaru, now called Pi-Ramses, their northern residence.

“The one important question remaining is: How long did the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt last – four centuries or four generations?”

(Osman 2003, p. 102-103)

“The contradictory accounts given in the Old Testament about the length of time the Israelites spent in Egypt are one of the reasons that have misled scholars into accepting the Hyksos period as the right time for Joseph’s appearance in the country.”

(Osman 2003, p. 104)

“It is impossible to examine the lives of Joseph and Yuga without also being struck by the remarkable number of similarities between them.”

(Osman 2003, p. 112)

“The rule of Yuya’s descendants – the Amarna kings, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), Semenkhkare, Tutankhamun and, lastly, Aye, who is generally regarded as Yuya’s own son – saw one of the most extraordinary episodes in Egyptian history and was followed by another after the Amarna Age had ended. Firstly, Amenhotep IV closed down the temples and attempted to destroy the traditional gods of Egypt, replacing them with a monotheistic god, Aten, and changing his own name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten: then after Horemheb, the last king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, had replaced the Amarna kings, a concerted attempt was made to wipe out of Egyptian history as if they had never existed.”

(Osman 2003, p. 129)

“Given the complexity of Egyptian religious ideas and the long time they took to develop, where lie the roots of upheaval in belief during Akhenaten’s reign, the worship of one God who had no image? It is generally thought to have its origins with Yuya. Yet where would Yuya acquire these revolutionary ideas, so far removed from the centuries-old religious beliefs of Egypt – unless he were Joseph, himself a believer in a monotheistic God?”

(Osman 2003, p. 132)

...back to Abraham and Isaac:

“Abraham’s action can be explained only by the fact that he was trying to destroy a son who did not even look like him, who, according to the Talmud, “all the people of the world suspected not to be his own son” – an heir to him who was, at the same time, an heir to the Pharaoh of Egypt.”

(Osman 2003, p. 146)

After further discussion and evaluation of sources, the author concludes

“This means that the original biblical text written by Moses must have been in Egyptian. It was later used, together with some material transmitted orally, to compose the earlier written Hebrew texts around the ninth and eight centuries B.C., all of which have been lost.”

(Osman 2003, p. 149)

The advantage of this book is that it adjusts the biblical and para-biblical narrations to archaeological and historical evidence, instead of the opposite.

Osman, A., The Hebrew Pharaohs of Egypt. The Secret Lineage of the Patriarch Joseph, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A., 2003.